In­tro­duc­ing home au­to­ma­tion sys­tems

Smart home tech­nol­ogy is no longer just a fun fad, but an in­te­gral part of how we live thanks to voice ac­ti­va­tion in­no­va­tion

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - ADVICE - Words Cather­ine Nikas-Bou­los More tel­stra.com.au

am look­ing to in­clude some smart ap­pli­ances in my home. I know there are sen­sor mon­i­tors and voice-ac­ti­vated prod­ucts on the mar­ket, but they all sound very con­fus­ing. Do I ac­tu­ally need them?

While Mil­len­ni­als have been quick to adapt to tech­no­log­i­cal changes and will­ingly en­gage in new tech trends, the rest of us have been slower to change. While the ben­e­fits may not be ob­vi­ous to many home­own­ers, as our lives get busier there are real ad­van­tages to em­brac­ing de­vices that make life eas­ier at work — and at home.

Gen­eral man­ager, of Home IoT (In­ter­net of Things) at Tel­stra says new ways of in­te­grat­ing your ap­pli­ances — and mon­i­tor­ing their use — are al­ready avail­able through prod­ucts such as the Tel­stra Smart Home sys­tem, which can au­to­mate home light­ing, tell you who is com­ing and going from your house, and turn ap­pli­ances on and off.

You are now able to in­ter­con­nect com­pat­i­ble smart de­vices such as mo­tion sen­sors, cam­eras, light bulbs, ther­mostats, smart power plugs and smart door locks.

Ed says these smart home op­tions al­low prod­ucts to “talk to each other to make things around the house run a lit­tle smoother”.

As the tech­nol­ogy de­vel­ops, all those dif­fer­ent el­e­ments can be con­trolled by the app on your mo­bile de­vice. Al­ter­na­tively, you can opt for Google Home or Ama­zon’s Alexa, which is a Wi-Fi speaker that uses a voice com­mand sys­tem to con­nect with other de­vices in the house.

Is this the fu­ture?

The short an­swer is yes, ac­cord­ing to Ed. Tel­stra is continuing to roll out the tech­nol­ogy with 15 smart de­vices now avail­able. The com­pany most re­cently added a water leak de­tec­tor and a smart smoke alarm bat­tery which can be mon­i­tored via a smart phone.

“We have been in the mar­ket for more than a year now with the smart home, and the core idea was to help peo­ple keep an eye on their prop­erty when they were away,” says Ed. “But, we also knew cus­tomers are con­cerned about ris­ing en­ergy costs, so we looked at how to bet­ter man­age that.”

Ed says the mar­ket is slowly start­ing to un­der­stand the ben­e­fits of in­te­grated smart home sys­tems.

“It’s still early days for smart home sys­tems in Aus­tralia, but we’re get­ting there,” he says.

Why use smart home apps?

Ed says view­ing se­cu­rity footage through an app on the phone, or us­ing smart light­ing to turn on and off when you’re away, are just some of the rea­sons home­own­ers are warm­ing to new prod­ucts.

While an older se­cu­rity sys­tem may sound the alarm — and an­noy the neigh­bours — Ed says smart home tech­nol­ogy lets you view the footage on your phone and alert the au­thor­i­ties, or dis­able the alarm if the sen­sor has been trig­gered by, say, a pet.

“I have three young boys, and in­stead of leav­ing on a night light on for them, I have mo­tion sen­sors in the bath­room, so if they need to go there dur­ing the night, the light will au­to­mat­i­cally turn on,” he says. “It makes my life eas­ier and saves me money through au­to­ma­tion.”

Why do it now?

Smart home tech­nol­ogy has been around for a cou­ple of years, so why are we only just start­ing to take no­tice? Ed says Google Home has a lot to do with it.

“Google has done a fan­tas­tic job of rais­ing the aware­ness of the smart home in Aus­tralia,” he says. “Google Home lets you lis­ten to mu­sic, set up timers and alarms, and it can work with a smart home con­trol sys­tem to do a lot more,” he says. “Peo­ple thought it was just a bit of fun at the be­gin­ning, be­fore re­al­is­ing it can be an in­te­gral part of the home.”

While peo­ple like the fun fac­tor of the tech­nol­ogy, Ed says they’re not so keen about hav­ing to make the change to new prod­ucts.

“But they don’t re­alise how sim­ple they are to set up and once you get com­fort­able with us­ing the apps on your phone, the smart home de­vices are easy to man­age,” he says. “Of course, if you’re really un­com­fort­able, you can ask for a tech­ni­cian to come out, though that’s not of­ten nec­es­sary.”

The tech­nol­ogy in re­gards to in­te­grated smart home prod­ucts is mov­ing along at a fast pace, with more ac­ti­vated prod­ucts to be re­leased to the mar­ket.

“We know with ab­so­lute cer­tainty that voice will play a ma­jor role in the fu­ture of home man­age­ment, in fact it al­ready does,” Ed says. “It will change the way peo­ple in­ter­act in the home and how things that we used to do man­u­ally will be prompted to ac­tion through voice. Some things al­ready have it, like smart lights, but we will see more of it.”

Google Home mini re­lies on voice com­mands to con­trol ac­cess to mu­sic, the in­ter­net and more.

A dis­creetly po­si­tioned Wi-Fi cam­era can be linked to your smart phone.

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